With the high profile of the previous vote to collectively bargain, another Amazon warehouse on Staten Island wants its chance at history too.
Coming off a major victory for one Staten-Island based Amazon warehouse, another one wants its shot at history too.
At 526 Gulf Avenue (the location of an Amazon warehouse) on Staten Island, Amazon Labor Union President Christian Smalls, Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) President Sara Nelson, American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein and other members of the ALU’s organizing committee gathered to announce that ALU was successful in garnering the signatures necessary for voting to occur (2,500 people). Elections at the LDJ5 location of Amazon’s complex began on Monday.
Looking to follow in JFK8’s footsteps, the workers want to address working conditions that they feel aren’t conducive to getting their job done. Some of those conditions include “unreasonable” work scheduling that’s based on Amazon’s desire to efficiently distribute products and not the workers’ well-being.
The group at LJD5 also received public support from high-profile elected officials as well such as U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“If you’re going to do business out here in New York, you got to treat our people right,” Ocasio-Cortez said to those in attendance. “It was the first domino to fall, the first one. We’re not gonna stop until the United States of America is union made.”
“What this whole thing is about is working people standing up,” added Sanders.
Staten Island’s condition is no coincidence. According to a recent ALF-CIO’s report titled “Dream on the Job: The Toll of Neglect,” 340 working people died every day because of hazardous working conditions. More than 4,764 workers were killed on the job from injuries alone. An estimated 120,000 workers died from occupational diseases. The job fatality rate was 3.4 per 100,000 workers. Musculoskeletal disorders continue to make up the largest portion (21%) of work-related injuries and illnesses, and Latino and Black workers remain at greater risk of dying on the job than all workers.
During a video news conference, AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, joined by other leaders including Bessemer, Alabama-based Amazon warehouse workers, talked about how these work conditions decimate families of color.
“That’s tens of thousands of families losing a parent, a child, a sibling, every single year,” said Shuler. “Latino and Black workers specifically remain at greater risk of dying on the job than all workers. That is, frankly, unacceptable.”
Back on the Island, Smalls, who was fired by Amazon in the early days of the pandemic for joining a walkout in protest of work conditions, let the public know that this won’t be the only rodeo in the immediate future. It’s going national as well.
“We got emails from Walmart, we got emails from Target, Dollar General, from Apple, from Starbucks,” touted Smalls. “We are going to take over the country.”